Managing Cultural Diversity in the Workplace.
Cultural diversity, other wise known as multiculturalism, is based on the idea that cultural identities should not be discarded or ignored, but instead, should be maintained and valued. You may often hear people refer to America as the great "melting pot." This term is used to describe the process of "blending" that takes place among people from different ethnic backgrounds.
One of the most common places that one may be exposed to diversity, is the workplace. Usually, people come to America for a better education, in return, this allows for a better job, which in the end, allows for a better life. Therefore, most companies in America have a very diverse workforce.
Others believe that diversity is something that will happen on its own without intervention. Some experts who study diversity, however, believe that diversity is not something that should be left up to chance. It is important, therefore, for organizations to take action to encourage and foster diversity in the workplace (Clarke, 1995, p. 13). .
The American workplace is changing and is expected to change at an even more accelerated rate in the near future. The workplace will include growing numbers of women, people of color, people of different ethnic backgrounds, aging workers, workers with a variety of physical handicaps, and people with alternative lifestyles. The workplace must endeavor to understand and use the full range of human potential within a very diverse population. (Wentling & Palma-Rivas, p. 235) .
Only companies that have cultures that support diversity will be able to retain the best talent necessary to remain competitive. Diversity is not the same thing as employment equity. Employment equity is usually tied to legislation and focuses on preventing or correcting discriminatory practices that apply to designated groups. In contrast, diversity is voluntary and it looks at every employee in the organization.